The boys are back for another term of wisdom-free studentship at Rudge Park Comprehensive, a suburban school where being cool and getting the girl simply don’t happen. The second series of The Inbetweeners, E4’s first commissioned sitcom, picks up where the last left off, with Will (Bird), Simon (Thomas), Jay (Buckley) and Neil (Harrison) still desperately trying to get laid and still failing miserably. If anything, the boys are even more uncool this time round, with lowlights including punching a fish to death, the world’s biggest merkin and a salutary lesson about energy drink consumption.
While most of the plotlines covered are obvious and the outcomes almost entirely predictable, where The Inbetweeners differs from a lot of comedies is that it is actually very funny. Granted, you might have to find teenage schoolboy sexual innuendo funny, but notwithstanding the puerile nature of the jokes, the script is consistently amusing with the gags coming thick and fast (“Like me!” as Jay might say). Despite or perhaps because of the lack of highbrow pretensions, it feels honest and up to a point, realistic.
The characters are just the right side of caricature and all the lead actors do a fine job of playing their respective roles. However, it’s Greg Davies as sixth form head Mr Gilbert who often steals the show with his sadistic treatment of the infuriating Will. The Inbetweeners won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but there’s no doubt that it captures the awkwardness, frustration and humiliation of being a teenage boy better than anything else on television in recent years.
EXTRAS **** Behind The Scenes; Field Trip featurette; A day in the life of video diaries; Mr Gilbert interview ; Outtakes; Deleted scenes; Commentaries from cast and crew; two Easter eggs. First and foremost, the extras are extremely watchable simply because everyone involved seems likeable, intelligent and amusing, to some degree or another. As with the first series, Joe Thomas’s ‘Day in the life’ diary is the most bizarre and as a result the most funny and interesting. The interview with Greg Davies is genuinely hilarious so it’s a shame it’s all too brief, while some of the outtakes contain some classic corpsing which will have you chuckling along with the unfortunate actors trying desperately to be professional amid the laughter carnage around them.